The voice of California’s charter school movement

Latinx Student: We're Proof that Charters Work!

By California Charter Schools Association

As the fight over hostile charter public school legislation rages on, a graduating senior from Camino Nuevo Charter Academy made a passionate plea to legislators weighing the fate of schools like his.  

Roberto Delgado emigrated from El Salvador to the United States just three years ago. He was undocumented, couldn’t speak English, and came from a low-income family who did not have the luxury to buy their way into a great school.

They opted for a charter school. Now, Roberto is graduating as student body president and heading to the University of California, Davis to pursue his dream as a doctor and help his community.  

Writing in the 74 earlier this month, he expressed his dismay over Sacramento politicians wanting to pass legislation that would limit opportunity for students like him.

“Our state representatives shouldn’t be trying to limit the number of great schools, they should be doing everything they can to create more of them,” he wrote.  

We couldn’t agree more with Roberto. Right now, charter public schools are offering students like him a free and quality alternative education—a lifeline from a failing traditional public school they would have to otherwise attend because of the zip code they live in. In the long term, these high-performing public schools are putting vulnerable students on a path that gets them closer to achieving their personal dreams.

Roberto’s story is reflective of the broader reality that more and more Latino families in California are choosing quality charter public schools: a spike of 32% between 2008 and 2017. CCSA’s own research demonstrates why they are making that choice. In 2018, we reported that in seven out of eight major districts throughout the state (West Contra Costa, San Jose, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Fresno) Latino charter public school students were:

  • Closer to reaching grade-level proficiency than their peers in traditional public schools.
  • Meeting/exceeding English Language Arts and math standards at a higher rate than their T.P.S. counterparts
  • More likely to complete college-prep courses and graduate college-ready than their peers in traditional public schools by over 10 percentage points.

Outside research also confirms that charter public schools are getting incredible academic results for Latino students in California. Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) shows Latino charter school students in poverty gaining weeks of additional learning in reading and math.   

Next month, the legislature will consider whether they will send AB 1505 and AB 1507 to Gov. Newsom’s desk. Powerful and moving stories like Roberto’s, as well as the broader success of hundreds and thousands of students like him, should make halting these bills in their tracks a no-brainer.  

Want to stand up for students like Roberto and tell your state senator to oppose these disastrous bills? Go here.

Photo credit: Camino Nuevo Charter Academy